Big Second Half Helps Whitehouse Girls Roll Past Hallsville 4-0 in Playoff Opener
TYLER -- Whitehouse coach Brad Jones knew that once his team got on the board, they'd be difficult to beat. It took more than 47 minutes to score, but the LadyCats ended up fulfilling their coach's prophecy.
Whitehouse erupted for four second-half goals, including three in less than five minutes, to run away from Hallsville 4-0 on Monday night in a Class 4A bi-district playoff at Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium.
The win launched Whitehouse (18-4), the District 31-4A runner-up, into the area round of the playoffs where it will face Liberty-Eylau later this week. Hallsville finished its season at 11-8-3.
"Our girls played well; they did the things we talked about in practice well," Jones said. "We did what we were supposed to do and didn't get flustered in the first half with having the opportunities and not being able to score. We kept our heads and didn't get flustered, so I'm really proud of them."
Freshman forward Lyndsey Raabe scored Whitehouse's first two goals.
Whitehouse's Vallie Stinchfield, a junior forward, received a cross-field pass, sped past the Hallsville defense and blasted a shot that deflected off Hallsville keeper Brooke Vinning. Raabe was there for the rebound, pushing the ball past Vinning for a 1-0 lead with 32:54 remaining.
Hallsville fended off Whitehouse for the next 20 minutes, but Raabe's second goal -- off an assist from fellow freshman Rachel Fulgham -- gave Whitehouse a commanding 2-0 lead with less than 13 minutes to play.
"She's definitely been a real asset to our team this year," Jones said of Raabe. "She's a forward goal scorer and it's nice to have her on the team. It's good that the players around her worked well with her in the opportunities she had. She was in the right place at the right time and finished them. That's definitely encouraging to see your freshman stepping up in the playoff game and I guess kinda getting over those jitters, because I know it's tough as a freshman."
Whitehouse continued its second-half assault when sophomore Kendal Updike scored off an assist from senior Haylie Dyess and Becca Garcia registered an unassisted goal to give Whitehouse three goals in less than five minutes.
"They're a good team, but they're a young team," Jones said of Hallsville. "And a lot of times in playoff games if you can get a goal, they usually kinda start to fall apart a little bit. And I kinda think that's what happened there in the end. But give them a lot of credit; they stuck it out and played hard the whole time."
While Hallsville battled all match long on defense, there weren't too many scoring chances as it accounted for just three shots on goal on the night to Whitehouse's 17.
"I think our strength all year really has been our defense, and they probably don't get enough credit," Jones said. "They played really, really well tonight. We did a real good job of limiting their opportunities. I've got three seniors there in the back and you can tell they're seniors with the way they play. They position themselves really well and we don't really give teams good looks or opportunities. Hopefully that'll continue on in the playoffs, however far we go."
Despite holding an 8-1 advantage in shots on goal, Whitehouse found itself in a scoreless tie with Hallsville at the half. Whitehouse's best scoring chances in the first half occurred about a minute apart as Garcia and Raabe saw shot attempts bounce off the right post.
"That was one of the things we talked about during halftime," Jones said. "We were doing things really well, moving the ball well and we got good opportunities, but we just didn't finish. That's one of the things we kinda stressed at halftime; we needed to finish these opportunities."